Tuesday, July 02, 2024

2024.07.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 119:57–64

Read Psalm 119:57–64

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the psalmist call YHWH in Psalm 119:57a? To what does this enable him to commit himself (verse 57b)? What is he desiring (n.b. ‘favor’ is literally ‘face’) and how much (Psalm 119:58a)? What does he want God to do/be (verse 58b)? According to what? What has he done about what (Psalm 119:59a)? What did he conclude to do (verse 59b)? How promptly did he take action (Psalm 119:60)? In what circumstances (Psalm 119:61a) had he done what (verse 61b)? At what time, does he do what (Psalm 119:62a)? Why (verse 62b)? What two things must someone else be for the psalmist to choose him as a companion (Psalm 119:63)? How much of what does he see, where (Psalm 119:64a)? What does he want to learn to do (verse 64b)?

How does the Lord come to be our portion, and what is it like when He is? Psalm 119:57–64 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eight verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that when the Lord is our portion, certainty that we have Him and His faithfulness to His Word frees us to see His love everywhere and trustingly do our duty.  

This stanza falls fairly neatly into four couplets, with the first two connecting to one other—the second couplet (Psalm 119:59-60) explaining how the psalmist came into the frame of mind and life of the first couplet (Psalm 119:57-58). It is the story of Psalm 73 told in reverse order. In Psalm 73, Asaph is brought to repentance by consideration of his ways, and realizing that the Lord is guiding him, comes to the wonderful conclusion at the end of that Psalm that the Lord is his Portion. 

YHWH, our PortionPsalm 119:57-58. Here, the psalmist begins with the declaration that the Lord is his Portion (Psalm 119:57a), which frees him to live a life of simple obedience (verse 57b). If you have thought that this would be an impractical way to live, then learn to live by the faith in Psalm 119:58. In verse 58a, “favor” is literally “face”; the psalmist desires the blessing of Numbers 6:25–26. If he has the Lord, he knows that he will have everything, because the Lord keeps His own Word (Psalm 119:58b). You can be sure of this, too (cf. Romans 8:32). 

Earnest, Urgent RepentancePsalm 119:59-60. How did the psalmist get here? Earnest consideration (a better translation for the intense word behind “thought” in Psalm 119:59a). Transformation comes by the renewing of the mind (cf. Romans 12:2). God calls us to earnest, intense reflection upon our ways. And this reflection should always result in resolve to act according to His Word (Psalm 119:59b). Don’t just think; decide. And don’t just decide; act immediately (Psalm 119:60). The earnestness of the reflection to which we are called in Psalm 119:59 is matched by the urgency of the action to which we are called in Psalm 119:60 (“made haste” … “did not delay”). 

Zealous DevotionPsalm 119:61-62. Even in the most difficult situation (Psalm 119:61a), the one who has the Lord as his portion is free to focus upon God’s instruction to him. Since God always keeps His own Word (Psalm 119:58b), we can focus on keeping His words to us (Psalm 119:61b, Psalm 119:57b). Even in the most inconvenient or unusual time, the psalmist gives thanks (Psalm 119:62a). 

The Companions, Vision, and Desire of the Devoted LifePsalm 119:63-64. What devotion the Lord brings us into, when He gives us repentance and gives us Himself! The last couplet zooms out, from the difficult and unusual situation, to a whole-life perspective. First, the companions that a believer should choose: Psalm 119:63 gives us the two qualifications someone must have to be our companion. Having the same moral values is actually second (verse 63b). Most important, is that someone would fear the Lord (verse 63a). If the Lord is their portion, if they desire His face with their whole heart, if in the most dire circumstances their great desire is to please him, and if they would gladly schedule midnight times of thanksgiving, they are the right sort of people to be our friends. Dear reader, here is the most important compatibility for a companion, and see to it that you apply it in choosing the most important earthly companion: your spouse. 

If a companion doesn’t “fear the Lord” in this way, then whatever similarity there seems to be in moral values is fool’s gold, “fool’s godliness.” They and we should have the view of the world in Psalm 119:64a and approach to life of verse 64b. Everywhere we look, with the Word as frontlets between our eyes, we should see the steadfast/covenant love of God filling the earth (verse 64a). In everything we do, with the Word as bound to our hand, we should seek to do as God has taught us in His statutes (verse 64b). This is life with the Lord as our Portion.

When do you spend time earnestly considering your ways? How urgently do you act when you are convicted by Scripture? What part does seeking the Lord’s face have in your worship and desires? Where do you see the steadfast love of the Lord? What desire do you have to learn the Lord’s statutes?

Sample prayer:  O Lord, You are our portion, and our whole hearts desire the smile of Your face. Grant us to think earnestly upon Your ways, to turn our feet to Your testimonies, and to act urgently upon Your Word. Give us, now, to remember Your law, to give thanks to You, to fear You, to see Your steadfast love, to learn Your statutes. Help us, in Your worship, that we might have You Yourself, by the help of Your Spirit, in Your Son, through Whom we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP119H “My Portion Is the LORD” or TPH119H “You, LORD, Are the Portion”

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